Epigram for the last straw - Sieges Even Interview WWW0.ORG / PROG Last Update: 12 Feb 2002


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This Sieges Even interview with Oliver Holzwarth was taken on February 1999

By John Vidiadakis

Oliver, let's start with the first album "Life cycle" (1988). How would you describe it and how do you feel about it after all these years?

This album has been our first professional step into the international world of music. Therefore it has been and still is very important to us. Personally, I think that it stands for an early stage in a long and never ending process of maturity with characteristics so typical for a young band, such as power, enthousiasm and: naivety.

The following release, "Steps" (1990), was really a large step of evolution for the band,  but times then were not suitable for groups with such a multiple and strange personality like Sieges Even. What did the press and the fans think then about "Steps"?

This album has been an object of controversy discussion. Although, the
press and a lot of people just loved it. Consequently, it has been our
biggest success (concerning the sellings). I think that the reason for
this lies in the fact, that steps has been a great surprise concerning
the music. And the people (sometimes) love surprises... It is a piece of
music with a strong identity and credibility: We had simply put our
inside out and that is what music is all about!

Which were the reasons of Franz Herde's departure, and how did 
you get in contact with Jogi Kaiser?

Easy answer for a cruel decision: He was not able to sing the right
lines. Jogi had been recommended by a friend of mine who had heard him singing at their joint working place and got deeply impressed. So I got his number and we tried "Behind closed Doors" together. And Jogi was quite able to sing the right lines. So he did the job and he did it well.

"A sense of change" (1991) is considered as the absolute Sieges Even masterpiece, and despite that I don't own all your albums, I can hardly imagine an album better than this one. What do you think on this excellent album?

Three questions - three answers: Firstly,it is not considered to be our best album. Some say that steps is our best one, others say that bla bla... Secondly, try out UNEVEN (our actual output). A third point to add: You are right in claiming ASOC to be an excellent album. I mean, it is a document of a stage of the band at that time very melodic with a deluge of positive vibes on it - it is the diametrical contrast to steps: very melancholic and sometimes extremely depressive. You are right (of course): It's excellent

How and why did the second change on the singer's seat and the change of guitarist come, with Greg Keller finally on vocals and Wolfgang Zenk on guitar?

Markus left the band in the end of '92 because he had other plans. Jogi
had serious problems with the new songs: he had no mental access to it
and that is why he left in '93.

Could you describe your latest two releases ("Sophisticated" - 1995 "Uneven" - 1997)? What do they mean for you and for the future of Sieges Even?

With these two albums Sieges Even has been reborn and redefined. The
music is now different: funky patterns, jazzy harmonies and metal
interpretation and sound. We ARE crossover!!! but the main difference is
that we don't mix rock with shit (little joke, har har)
And we are a power band today: You have to listen to it live - I still
can't believe it.

Charlie Bauerfeind seems to have become a permanent member of the band, after all these years on the producer's seat. How would you describe the relationship between the group and him? Do you think is important to have a permanent relationship with the producer, or a change can be better?

Tough question: After all those years there is a special relationship
between us. Perhaps it is a sort of friendship, even though there is no
friendship in business!!! With one permanent producer you can work much
more efficiently what makes you save money and optimate the result. And
furthermore: Never change a winning team! Now it is my turn: Are we a
winning team?

Are you still in contact with Franz Herde, Jogi Kaiser and Markus Steffen?

Yes, No, No.

What are the future plans of the group? After the departure from Under Siege Records, are there any contacts or a contract with other companies?

Yes, there are contacts to some companies. We are going to have several meetings to get a good contract. Perhaps we are going to do a demo tape with new songs. If everything works fine we are going to fix a deal in the next days. Let's wait and see. Perhaps we will do it on our own. Nobody knows, yet.

What kind of experience is a  live performance for the group, and how do the fans usually react? Also, could you describe the experience you gained while playing with ELP and Psychotic Waltz? Are you still in contact with them?

No, there is no contact with neither of the two. Playing as the opener
for ELP has been a great experience because of the big sold out halls -
almost nobody knew any of our songs but we succeeded, nevertheless. This
just indicates somehow the quality of SE. We really learned a lot on
tour. So, this happening will always have a place in our hearts. By the
way: we didn't have any deeper personal contact to ELP. But Keith and
Carl came on stage on several occasions and got their impressions
watching us playing. The gig with Waltz has been history to us: killer package, exceptional crowd and great reactions! What do you need more? Generally speaking, playing live is as important as going into the studio and recording new stuff. In playing live you can concentrate on
different important musical aspects: Playing with energy and attitude
and keeping the band grooving. And: Convincing the crowd and not the
producer, har har. A difficult task, anyway. The visitors at our concerts are probably the same as other crowds. They want to be catched by good music. That is what the live situation is all about. 

Talking about live gigs, you came some months ago here in Greece with Blind Guardian. Which are your impressions from Greece, and what's your opinion on the music of Blind Guardian and their latest release, where you contributed too?

The greek fans are as enthousiastic as the fans in south america, for
example. Perhaps they are even wilder. We had great fun in playing live
in Athens and Thessaloniki where I celebrated my birthday with the fans
singing "Happy Birthday"!!! Incredible. And I met a lot of SE followers
there. So: SE will have to play in greece, soon.Talking about BG: I really love their actual output - furthermore, If I did not like their music I would not have played with them.

Which were the groups and artists that made you want to play music, and which do you think were the main influences on Sieges Even music now and then?

In the early days our influences were metal and rock bands. Today this
has changed into other musical directions. But we are much more open to
different styles of music. We all love metal, fusion, jazz, funk and ....

Sieges Even seems destined to belong to a rather small audience,
which of course is always willing to spend time to understand their music. Do you think it is a satisfying situation, or would you prefer to access wider publicity, with all the consequences it can bring?

Of course, I would prefer that. Playing our own music and earning a
living with it would just be fantastic.

What do you think about the movement to whose pioneers you belong, progressive metal, nowadays? Is it still worth the name "progressive"?

Being progressive implies the effort to create something new in breaking traditional frontiers. That is what we try all the time. I don't know if there is any progressive movement at the moment. It seems that nobody needs it.

Are there any good underground German prog metal bands? 

Yes, there is Sieges Even from munich. They are underground. Don't know about any other band.

Finally, what is music to you? Your way to "renew the bond with ages gone by" by expressing your deepest feelings, a passage out of conformity "while hope and death carry on their dialogue", or something else?

Music is self expression: I play and therefore I am.

Oliver, thanx for everything, and especially for those seemingly endless

Thank You for the interview. Take care.

Epigram for the last straw ©2000

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